How to Completely Switch off Location Services in iOS 8 (And More Privacy Tips)

Apple has a renewed focus on privacy and security in iOS 8. It has a ton of security systems in place but most of the other things that are under your control – privacy of apps, location services, website tracking – still need some configuration from you.

When you upgrade to iOS 8, it is very possible that many settings (related to privacy and location services) got reset. Here are six things you should do right after you’ve upgraded to iOS 8 on your iPhone/iPad:

Completely Turn off Location Services in iOS 8

#1. Turn off Location Services Completely

If you’re like me, you probably never use location services on your iPhone/iPad. It’s extremely rare that I need to enable location services for an app to figure out where I am. In this case, you can totally turn off location services on your iOS device. Here’s how:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Privacy
  • Tap on Location Services
  • Switch off Location Services. This will completely turn off location services.

Turn off Location Services Completely in iOS 8

#2. Selectively Turn off Some Location Services in iOS 8

While #1 might be an easy way out, I guess a lot of people need location services to be turned on for some of the apps to work as they intend to. In this case, you can pick which apps use location services, which can’t, and which system services you’ll let. This is important because when things like Diagnostics and location-based iAds are running, they are using location services and eating up your battery. In the case of Location-based iAds, it’s kind of dispensable.

Selectively Turn off Some Location Services in iOS 8

Check out our post on Location Services in iOS 8 to find out why it could be always on in iOS 8 and how to turn it off.

Under Settings → Privacy → Location Services, you can selectively pick what apps can use location services.

#3. Privacy for Contacts, Photos, etc.

Apps can not only access/use your location data but also other data stored on your iPhone/iPad. Like, for instance, your contacts, your photos, your calendar data, etc.

iOS 8 Privacy for Contacts, Photos etc

For instance, if you want to send some photo through Whatsapp, the app has to be “permitted” to access your photos. When you “allow” this to happen, under Privacy → Photos, the switch for Whatsapp will be turned on. Likewise for other data (Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Microphone, Camera, etc.).

You should tap on each section individually and decide which apps to “allow” and which ones to disallow. Turn on/off the switch based on what you deem fit.

#4. Website Tracking in Safari

Websites track some data almost all the time. This is part of the subculture now, and it started for a good reason: to understand the visitor/user better and craft the experience to be better.

But we know that there are two sides to everything, and if the bad side of it bothers you (rightly so), you can turn off/disable website tracking in Safari (and other web browsers). For Safari, here’s how to disable website tracking in iOS 8:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Safari
  • Under the Privacy & Security label, enable Do Not Track
  • Furthermore, you can even disallow all cookies (tap on Block Cookies and select Always Block). But this can be a problem if you want websites to remember some things (like username, session data, etc.)

#5. Website Tracking in Chrome (and others)

But if you use Chrome instead of Safari, you will have to disable tracking on Chrome independently. To do this:

  • Open Chrome
  • Tap on the three bars right next to the address bar.
  • Tap on Settings
  • Under the Advanced tab, tap on Privacy
  • Now, under Web Services, tap on Do Not Track and turn it off.
  • You can also tap on Send Usage Data and turn it off. (Select Never)

iOS 8 Website Tracking in Chrome

#6. Advertiser Identity / Tracking

There’s another important privacy setting that you might want to turn off, so iAds don’t track you (even though it’s anonymous). Apple assigns what is called an Advertising Identifier to your device. This helps iAds and advertisers (who use iAds) to show you content/ads that are relevant and more in line with what you’d like to see. If that is not something you’re very concerned about (basically, as users: who likes ads, much less ad tracking?), here’s how to turn it off.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Privacy
  • Tap on Advertising
  • Turn ON Limit Ad Tracking

Limit Ad Tracking in iOS 8

  • Also, for good measure, tap on Reset Advertising Identifier to clear out all data.

These are mostly all of the privacy settings that iOS 8 lets you customize/configure.

That’s all!

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